Sometimes when I'm busy doing something, I suddenly remember that I have a baby, and that realization fills me with surprise. In the midst of kneading bread dough, I wonder if there's time to mix up some cookies for dessert before I start dinner, and then -- wow! -- I realize that I'm making all these things with a baby staring at me from his high chair. The past three times I've had a baby in the house, we ate cereal and pasta for most meals, and homemade foods were rare! Or I'm telling the kids that they can have three pieces of paper for painting time, but no more than three. Then I pause, remembering that I never
Why can I glide through my days with ease now? Is it because my three oldest kids are older and more independent? Or the fact that I've gotten into the rhythm of meal planning and cleaning, so I don't get overwhelmed by what I need to do? I don't think I'm more laid back about the house, because I now keep things cleaner than before. Maybe my healthy diet gives me more energy and fortitude for the daily tasks?
It's probably a combination of many things, but the reason doesn't really matter. My fourth baby gets so much attention, and doesn't hear Mommy complain all day about having too much to do. He sits on my lap for lots of books, and he rides in the Moby wrap while I bake cereal or crackers. The other kids had plenty of reading time and play time with me, too, but I was more distracted.
People say that the baby and toddler phase is a time when you just try to get through the days, and the kids won't really remember anything from it. They don't care if lunch is just popcorn or a grilled cheese on freshly baked sourdough bread with a side of homemade hummus and veggie sticks. That thought always alleviated my guilt. It's so much nicer, though, to feel happy instead of overwhelmed.
I've been spending more time having fancy tea parties lately than I did before this baby was born, and my journal gets opened a whole lot more often. I'm amazed when I remember my life four years ago, and compare it to my life now.